National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

New Social Media Campaign Urges Repeal of Irish Abortion Restrictions

Abortion-rights supporters in Ireland are tweeting about their menstrual cycles to Prime Minister Enda Kenny as part of a viral campaign to repeal restrictive abortion laws there, Reuters reports (Halpin, Reuters, 11/6).

Background

In 2013, Ireland's Parliament legalized abortion when the procedure is needed to save a woman's life, including when there is a threat of suicide because of the pregnancy. However, the law does not allow abortions in other instances, including rape, incest, fetal anomaly or when there is no prospect of the fetus surviving outside the womb (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/22/14).

The Labor party, which is part of Ireland's coalition government, said it will campaign next year to allow abortion in cases of rape, incest and fetal anomalies. In addition, activists have called for a repeal of the Irish constitution's eighth amendment, which states that a pregnant women and her fetus have an equal right to life.

Meanwhile, a poll from the Irish news group Raidió Teilifís Éireann found 64% of Irish residents support abortion rights in some circumstances.

Details of Twitter Campaign

Comedian Grainne Maguire launched the campaign on Twitter this week, writing, "Since we know how much the Irish state cares about our reproductive parts ... I think it's only fair that the women of Ireland let our leader @EndaKennyTD know the full details of our menstrual cycle" (Reuters, 11/6).

According to BBC, many women started sharing their own tweets and the hashtag "#repealthe8th" currently is trending in Ireland. The campaign comes amid ongoing efforts to repeal the amendment: A coalition of abortion-rights organizations is urging a referendum, and a petition from Amnesty International, with signatures from more than 47,000 individuals, is calling on Kenny to change the law (BBC, 11/5).

According to Reuters, Kenny has not responded to the social media campaign (Reuters, 11/6).